STATEMENT THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2016 PAGES:
Welcome to the A-Z Classic TV Shows Theme Songs and Intros! Last year I did an A-Z Musical Tour of My Life and featured tons of classic rock music. I had so much fun with it that this year I decided to present classic television shows theme songs and intros. These are shows that I remember from my youth during the 60s and 70s…with an occasional 80s show thrown in. Each show is introduced with information (gathered primarily from my favorite go-to for info, Wikipedia) or associated memories, followed by a video of the TV show’s theme song intro. At first glance, the posts may seem long because of the number of videos included but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, watch or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and go back in time with all the fun theme song intros you’ll find here. Please leave a comment and share your favorite classic TV shows. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! I hope you enjoy my collection. Now, let’s get started with…
R is for Room 222: I used to love this show! It’s not running in syndication. Sometimes I wish they’d bring some of these old shows back.
Room 222 was an American comedy-drama television series produced by 20th Century Fox Television that aired on ABC for 112 episodes from September 17, 1969, until January 11, 1974. The show was broadcast on Wednesday evenings at 9 (EST) for its first two seasons before settling into its best-remembered time slot of Friday evenings at 9, following The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, and preceding The Odd Couple and Love, American Style.
In 1970 Room 222 earned Emmy Awards in three categories: Outstanding New Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Michael Constantine), and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Karen Valentine).
The series focused on an American history class at the fictional Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, California, although it also depicted other events at the school. Located in Room 222, the class was taught by Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes), an idealistic African American schoolteacher. Other characters featured in the show were the school’s compassionate guidance counselor, Liz McIntyre (Denise Nicholas), who was also Pete’s girlfriend; the dryly humorous school principal, Seymour Kaufman (Michael Constantine); and the petite and enthusiastic Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine), a student teacher. Also shown was Patsy Garrett as Mr. Kaufman’s secretary, Miss Hogarth. In addition, many recurring students were featured from episode to episode.
Pete Dixon delivered gentle lessons to his students in tolerance and understanding. Students admired his wisdom, insight, and easygoing manner. The themes of the episodes were sometimes topical, reflecting the current political climate (the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s such as the Vietnam War, women’s rights, race relations, and Watergate). However, most plots were timeless and featured themes still common to modern-day teenagers. For example, the 1971 episode titled “What Is a Man?” deals with a student who is the victim of anti-gay harassment and the 1974 episode titled “I Didn’t Raise My Girl to Be a Soldier” deals with parent–teenager issues.
The show featured many actors who went on to become major stars, such as Bruno Kirby, Bernie Kopell, Cindy Williams, Teri Garr, Jamie Farr, Rob Reiner, Anthony Geary, Richard Dreyfuss, Chuck Norris, Kurt Russell, and Mark Hamill. In addition, former child stars David Bailey, Ricky Kelman, Flip Mark, and Michael Shea each made appearances on the series late in their respective careers.
R is for Rhoda:
Rhoda is an American sitcom starring Valerie Harper which aired a total of 109 half-hour episodes over five seasons, from 1974 to 1978. The show was a spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which Harper between the years 1970 and 1974 had played the role of Rhoda Morgenstern, a spunky, weight-conscious, flamboyantly fashioned Jewish neighbor and native New Yorker in the role of Mary Richards’ best friend. After four seasons, Rhoda left Minneapolis and returned to her original hometown of New York City. The series is noted for breaking two television records, and was the winner of two Golden Globes and two Emmy Awards.
Rhoda was filmed Friday evenings in front of a live studio audience at CBS Studio Center, Stage 14 in Studio City, Los Angeles, California.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series—Valerie Harper, 1975
Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series—Julie Kavner, 1978
Golden Globe Awards:
Best TV Show, Musical/Comedy—1975
Best TV Actress, Musical/Comedy—Valerie Harper, 1975
Collectively, Rhoda garnered a total of 17 Emmy nominations and 7 Golden Globe nominations.
Season 1 Intro Theme:
Season 2 Intro Theme Song:
R is for the Rifleman:
The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1870s and 1880s in the town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. The show was filmed in black-and-white, half-hour episodes. The Rifleman aired on ABC from September 30, 1958, to April 8, 1963, as a production of Four Star Television. It was one of the first prime time series on American television to show a widowed parent raising a child.
The series centers on Lucas McCain, a widowed Union Civil War veteran. McCain had been a lieutenant in the 11th Indiana Infantry Regiment, and he had received a battlefield commission at the Battle of Five Forks just before the end of the war. Having previously been a homesteader, McCain buys a ranch outside the fictitious town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory, in the pilot episode. He and his son Mark had come from Enid, Oklahoma, after his wife died, when Mark was 6 years old.
R is for The Rockford Files:
The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to the present day. Garner portrays Los Angeles-based private investigator Jim Rockford with Noah Beery, Jr., in the supporting role of his father, a retired truck driver nicknamed “Rocky”.
The show was created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell. Huggins created the television show Maverick (1957–1962), which starred Garner, and he wanted to recapture that magic in a “modern day” detective setting. He teamed with Cannell, who had written for Jack Webb productions such as Adam-12 and Chase (1973–1974, NBC), to create The Rockford Files.
The series theme music by composers Mike Post and Pete Carpenter was released as a single and went to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 16 weeks and won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for 1975.
Producers Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell devised the Rockford character as a rather significant departure from typical television detectives of the time, essentially Bret Maverick as a modern detective. Rockford had served time in California’s San Quentin Prison in the 1960s due to a wrongful conviction. After five years, he was pardoned. His infrequent jobs as a private investigator barely allow him to maintain his dilapidated mobile home (which doubles as his office) in a parking lot on the beaches of Malibu, California.
In contrast to most television private eyes, Rockford wears low-budget “off the rack” clothing and does his best to avoid fights. He rarely carries his Colt Detective Special revolver, for which he has no permit, preferring to talk his way out of trouble. He works on cold cases, missing persons investigations, and low-budget insurance scams, and repeatedly states that he does not handle “open cases” to avoid trouble with the police; he has been a P.I since 1968; his usual fee is $200.00 per day plus expenses.
Here’s an extended Intro theme song of The Rockford Files:
R is for The Rookies:
The Rookies is an American crime drama series that aired on ABC from 1972 until 1976. It follows the exploits of three rookie police officers working in an unidentified city for the fictitious Southern California Police Department (SCPD).
The series began as an ABC Movie of the Week airing on March 7, 1972, which also served as the pilot for the series.
The success of Joseph Wambaugh’s book, The New Centurions, as well as NBC’s ratings success with Adam-12, had sparked interest at the time in a more realistic depiction and storytelling of the typical uniformed police officer. Although various incidents during the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly in California, had sparked controversy and negative feelings towards police officers in general, The Rookies tried to better humanize the character of a police officer and show the struggles that new, younger men and women (who were often Vietnam-era military veterans and/or college graduates) faced in their lives as law enforcement persons sworn to serve and protect the public.
The TV showfeatures five rookies newly arrived at a police academy in southern California: cadets Jared Whitman (Robert F. Lyons), Kevin Lassiter (Jeff Pomerantz), Mike Danko (Sam Melville), William “Willie” Gillis (Michael Ontkean), and Terry Webster (Georg Stanford Brown), all coming from different backgrounds including the military, college, and social work. The cadets’ training sergeant was Eddie Ryker, played by Darren McGavin. (In the series, Sgt. Ryker had been recently promoted to lieutenant and was played by Gerald S. O’Loughlin.) The character of Jill Danko also appeared in the movie pilot, but was played by another actress, Jennifer Billingsley, and the part was recast for the series with Kate Jackson as Jill Danko, a registered nurse.
The Rookies TV series centers around three rookie officers, Danko, Webster, and Gillis, and their superior officer/mentor, Lieutenant Ryker. The show was produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg. Each episode showcased highly dramatized versions of police cases and activities, often intertwined with the off-duty lives of the officers and their significant others. Mike Danko was the only rookie in the series who was married. Although filmed in and around Los Angeles, the actual setting of the show was kept deliberately vague, and, in a TV Guide article about the show, “SCPD” was said to stand for “Southern California Police Department.”
R is for Rocky & Bullwinkle:
The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show (known as Rocky & His Friends during the first two seasons and as The Bullwinkle Show for the last three seasons) is an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks. Produced by Jay Ward Productions, the series is structured as a variety show, with the main feature being the serialized adventures of the two title characters, the anthropomorphic moose Bullwinkle and flying squirrel Rocky. The main adversaries in most of their adventures are the Russian-like spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Supporting segments include Dudley Do-Right (a parody of old-time melodrama), Peabody’s Improbable History (a dog and his pet boy Sherman traveling through time), and Fractured Fairy Tales (classic fairy tales retold in comic fashion), among others.
Rocky & Bullwinkle is known for quality writing and wry humor. Mixing puns, cultural and topical satire, and self-referential humor, it appealed to adults as well as children. It was also one of the first cartoons whose animation was outsourced; storyboards were shipped to Gamma Productions, a Mexican studio also employed by Total Television. The art has a choppy, unpolished look and the animation is extremely limited even by television animation standards at the time. Yet the series has long been held in high esteem by those who have seen it; some critics described the series as a well-written radio program with pictures.
The lead characters and heroes of the series were Rocket “Rocky” J. Squirrel, a flying squirrel, and his best friend Bullwinkle J. Moose, a dim-witted but good-natured moose. Both characters lived in the fictional town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, which was based on the real life city of International Falls, Minnesota. The scheming villains in most episodes were the fiendish, but inept, agents of the fictitious nation of Pottsylvania: Boris Badenov, a pun on Boris Godunov, and Natasha Fatale, a pun on femme fatale. Boris and Natasha were commanded by the sinister Mr. Big and Fearless Leader. Other characters included Gidney & Cloyd, little green men from the moon who were armed with scrooch guns; Captain Peter “Wrongway” Peachfuzz, the captain of the S.S. Andalusia; and the inevitable onlookers, Edgar and Chauncy
Did you ever watch these shows? Can you think of any other shows that should be here? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?